“She scared us to death with the basement steps!” say Cathy and Robert Reed, parents of 8-year-old Shruthi, who was adopted from India through WACAP at age 4.
But that they can say these words at all points to something extraordinary.
That’s because this little girl, not even 20 pounds when she came home, was born with a number of special needs, including limb differences, a cleft palate, vision challenges, and club feet, many related to a rare medical condition called Larsen syndrome.
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WACAP’s Family Finders staff searched for years to find the right family for Shruthi, whose medical needs most families felt foreshadowed what Shruthi’s future would hold, not how many steps she’d take.
Today, after four years with a family’s love, an increasingly tenacious 8-year-old whose legs once could not hold her upright, believed she could walk the basement steps on her own. Since just one year ago, Shruthi has been able to get herself in and out of her wheelchair, has recovered from major surgery on both legs and feet three months ahead of time, walked with her forearm crutches, and put on her first “real pair of shoes.”
From taking small steps without holding onto anything, she’s since climbed those basement stairs. And, after being nominated for the Night of Superstars and Ragan’s Hope last month, this dazzling little girl found herself on the red carpet.
Below, Cathy shares more about the miracle of each step, of the past year, and of the little girl the whole family knows is their superstar.
This past year has been remarkable!
As of today of this month, Shruthi has been with our family for longer than she was in the orphanage. A full four years without a family. At 8 she amazes us! The sparkle in her eyes continues to shine and there isn’t a braver child than Shruthi! Shruthi has started walking without crutches, walker or holding onto anything! All since her last surgery in July.
Service-dog Stover and Shruthi are a real team and, of course, are into everything. Stover opens the refrigerator for Shruthi and, of course, he gets a carrot for his effort; he picks things up for her, plays with her, opens doors for her, helps her take her clothes off and helps her eat. Actually she has to take a bite, chew and swallow it in order to give Stover a treat. If Shruthi doesn’t eat fast enough Stover will nudge her reminding her he is waiting for his treat.
Stover gives Shruthi the confidence she was lacking and makes her feel safe. It is nothing short of a miracle watching her as she improves almost daily.
Shruthi recently was nominated for Night of Superstars and chosen. Night of Superstars and Ragan’s Hope honors 20 local children with challenges who achieve beyond their abilities in academics, community service and other areas.
On February 15, Shruthi walked the red carpet for this special event. She even got to ride in a Limo, have her hair and makeup done and has already met recording artist Jason Ashley. (She calls Jason “my cowboy.”)
Shruthi is definitely our little superstar. She continues to grow both physically and mentally and is almost caught up developmentally. From the nonverbal, 17 pound 4-year-old little girl who came home to her family in March 2010 has emerged a beautiful young lady who just turned 8 and is in regular first grade.
She is always smiling, always trying, always kind and caring, and rarely complains. She has under gone 10 surgeries since coming home to straighten her legs and feet and even through all this, she is happy! Shruthi is a little miracle, and God has allowed us to watch His healing and the power of love of family.
I pray everyday that when prospective adoptive parents are looking at children with special needs, that they are able to look past the challenges of their little bodies and see what they can become.